Those Dancing Days Are Gone

If this poem whets your appetite for William Butler Yeats, listen to Helen Vendler’s deeply insightful close reading of Yeats on Open Source. Vendler is author of Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form.

Those Dancing Days Are Gone by William Butler Yeats

Come, let me sing into your ear;
Those dancing days are gone,
All that silk and satin gear;
Crouch upon a stone,
Wrapping that foul body up
In as foul a rag:
I carry the sun in a golden cup.
The moon in a silver bag.

Curse as you may I sing it through;
What matter if the knave
That the most could pleasure you,
The children that he gave,
Are somewhere sleeping like a top
Under a marble flag?
I carry the sun in a golden cup.
The moon in a silver bag.

I thought it out this very day.
Noon upon the clock,
A man may put pretence away
Who leans upon a stick,
May sing, and sing until he drop,
Whether to maid or hag:
I carry the sun in a golden cup,
The moon in a silver bag.

Carla Bruni brings this poem to a whole new audience with her recording on No Promises.  She explains how Marianne Faithful helped her choose the poem and craft the lyric on a No Promises promo.

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